From L1 undergraduate degree to EAP course to university studies: the story of two transitions


  • Laurel Acton University of Technology Sydney


An important pathway function for international students wishing to enter Australian universities is performed by English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) colleges. Direct entry arrangements exist between some ELICOS colleges and a linked university, facilitating enrolment in a degree program for students who have graduated from an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course. Most research in this area has focused on the skill preparation of EAP students for university studies. Instead, this study focuses on these students’ approaches to learning during the two educational transitions they must undergo: from their L1 undergraduate degree to the EAP course, and then the EAP course to the Australian university. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the participants to investigate their lived experience of these two transitions. In the participant cohort, there were seventeen postgraduate (coursework) students and one undergraduate student completing his second degree. Findings show marked differences in pedagogy across the three educational contexts. Moreover, participants’ adjustment to each new educational setting was found to feature changing ways of learning, including hybridisation of study approaches. Participants emerged as pragmatic, resourceful learners in unfamiliar educational settings. Implications for these findings for EAP and university practice are considered.

Author Biography

Laurel Acton, University of Technology Sydney

Lecturer, Master of TESOL course School of Education UTS




How to Cite

Acton, L. (2020). From L1 undergraduate degree to EAP course to university studies: the story of two transitions. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(2), 120–133. Retrieved from